|Admissions Director:||D'Andre Weaver|
|Address:||1034 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60610|
|Freshman class size:||210|
|Total enrollment:||868 (grades 9 - 12)|
For the past three years, the average score of an admitted student has stayed relatively flat at extremely high levels. In 2014-2015, the average score of an admitted Payton student was 888 on the 900 point admissions scale – still slightly more than ultra-competitive Northside’s 881.
For the past five years, CPS has been using a socioeconomic Tier system to select students for all of its selective admissions schools. Currently, thirty percent of seats are allocated to students with the highest academic performance citywide – regardless of their “socioeconomic status”. The remaining seventy percent are allocated to each of four socioeconomic Tiers, with each Tier receiving 17.5%. Students compete for this portion based their academic performance in comparison with other students in their Tier.
Use of the Tier system has led to significant gaps in the academic achievement required for admissions between students from different parts of the City of Chicago. There is a particularly large gap between admissions scores of Tier 4 (the highest socioeconomic Tier) and Tier 1 (the lowest socioeconomic Tier) – in the more competitive schools.
In the most recent admissions year, there was a 27 point gap between the average score of an admitted Payton Tier 4 and Tier 1 student. This gap is less than the one in prior years as Tier 1 scores increased -- while Tier 4 "average" scores remained high -- a mere 898 on the 900 point scale.
In July 2011, Tim Devine became Payton's Principal. Prior to becoming Principal at Payton, Devine taught Social Studies for 12 years at Northside College Prep, where he became the Social Studies Department Head and also won a Golden Apple for his teaching prowess.
Walter Payton College Prep opened its doors in the fall of 2000. Payton's motto is "We Nurture Leaders." To encourage leadership among its students, Payton has established two mentoring systems - Payton Advisory Leaders (PALS) for juniors who want to guide freshmen; and Best Buddies, for students who assist special needs students.
Payton offers a technology rich environment. Students have access to smart desks (e.g., with both data and electrical outlets) in every classroom, a World Language Lab, a Distance Learning Lab, and various computer and science centers. The mathematics department uses a range of computer software in its curriculum to provide students with a hands-on application of quantitative concepts. College credit courses are available through partnerships with area schools. Payton uses block or modified scheduling with its longer class sessions to allow for the deeper exploration of topics. Academic highlights:
In addition to fielding a top ranked Math Team, Payton has established a Saturday afternoon math enrichment program, Payton Citywide Math Circle, to provide Chicago students with exposure to challenging topics that are outside the standard mathematics curriculum.
In September 2013, CPS announced that it was expanding Payton to add an additional 400 seats -- meaning that 8th graders would be able to vie for an additional 100 seats. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2015.
Payton offers over 30 different clubs from academic clubs (e.g., Academic Decathlon, Debate Team, Math Team, National Honor Society, etc.) to cultural clubs (e.g., Art Attack, Anime and Japanese Culture, Music Production, Payton Players, Photography, etc.) to social service clubs (e.g., Animal Rights, Amnesty International, Best Buddies, Environmental Club, Model UN, etc.). Payton offers basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
The performance of 11th graders on the PSAE (which includes the ACT) is used by the State of Illinois to assess reading, math, and science proficiency. In 2013, 51% of Illinois juniors met or exceeded standards in Reading and Math; while 49% met or exceeded standards in Science.
For 2013, 97% of Payton’s 11th graders met or exceeded standards in Reading, 98% met or exceeded standards in Math, and 97% met or exceeded standards in Science. In addition, an impressive percent exceeded standards in these areas – 65% in Reading, 52% in Math, and 64% in Science.
The ACT is the most widely used college admissions test, so its scores are a useful guide for comparing high school academic performance. The test contains four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, a composite score is the average of these sections. The score of any of these sections and the composite range from 1 to 36.
Selective Enrollment High School students achieved an average composite score of 24.5 (approximately 75th percentile nationally) in 2013. This compares to Payton's 2013 composite of 28.2 (approximately 90th percentile nationally) and Chicago's 17.7 (30th percentile nationally), putting Payton significantly above both the District (City of Chicago) average and the national average
The ACT organization has defined "College Readiness Benchmark Scores" -- median test scores that are predictive of student "success" in the relevant college courses. ACT defines "success" as the probability of earning a B or better in the corresponding college coursework.
In 2013, Payton’s average ACT scores exceeded all four “College Readiness Benchmark Scores” – average ACT scores for English (28.8 vs. the ACT Benchmark of 18), Reading (29.1 vs. the ACT Benchmark of 22), for Math (27.3 vs. the ACT Benchmark of 22), and Science (26.9 vs. the ACT Benchmark of 23).
From 2005 to 2013, Payton's composite ACT score has inched up from 25.6 (82nd percentile) to 28.2 (90th percentile) as shown below.
For additional academic information about Payton, click here for a state report card.